(Urgent) application crisis after startup fall-out


samco.me
I worked as Head of business strategy after co-founding startup with one old friend (Owner, business Idea was his brainchild) for about 1.5 year. Even after putting every possible effort we couldn't succeed in building significant market (nor we got funding) , and we decided to close down the company (I worked on equity sharing basis but no legal framework). Then, since last 1.5 years we have been working on another business plan. Though, I didn't approve of certain strategies for 2nd plan, I still carried on with this because of long time friendship with founder and I was hoping that we would be able to secure funding this time. Unfortunately, we couldn't show any traction as we needed some capital input and investors weren't interested in funding our startup. Future prospects were looking quite bleak to me. (This startup has not been registered because we wanted to achieve seed-funding milestone first, which never happened)

I invested a lot of my time (almost 3.5 years) and money (in form of salary loss), and my personal life had taken a big toll. Entrepreneurship spirit is still alive and I have a ambition business plan in mind. I decided to do MBA (full time), as I realized that poor networking and inadequate business skills were the real deal-breakers for our start-up (other than rigid attitude of owner).

However, owner, so called friend, is not approving me to leave start-up. He has refused to acknowledge my start-up experience and to write recommendation. I have taken GMAT but I am doomed as I don't have any legal proof to show that I founded start-up company.

Now, how should I explain last 3.5 years. I can totally explain all technical work I did, for eg how I managed Text analytics tools. I am so terrified as I don't have any good recommender. More importantly, Would I appear a faker to ad-com if I go ahead with this startup story?
I worked as Head of business strategy after co-founding startup with one old friend (Owner, business Idea was his brainchild) for about 1.5 year. Even after putting every possible effort we couldn't succeed in building significant market (nor we got funding) , and we decided to close down the company (I worked on equity sharing basis but no legal framework). Then, since last 1.5 years we have been working on another business plan. Though, I didn't approve of certain strategies for 2nd plan, I still carried on with this because of long time friendship with founder and I was hoping that we would be able to secure funding this time. Unfortunately, we couldn't show any traction as we needed some capital input and investors weren't interested in funding our startup. Future prospects were looking quite bleak to me. (This startup has not been registered because we wanted to achieve seed-funding milestone first, which never happened)

I invested a lot of my time (almost 3.5 years) and money (in form of salary loss), and my personal life had taken a big toll. Entrepreneurship spirit is still alive and I have a ambition business plan in mind. I decided to do MBA (full time), as I realized that poor networking and inadequate business skills were the real deal-breakers for our start-up (other than rigid attitude of owner).

However, owner, so called friend, is not approving me to leave start-up. He has refused to acknowledge my start-up experience and to write recommendation. I have taken GMAT but I am doomed as I don't have any legal proof to show that I founded start-up company.

Now, how should I explain last 3.5 years. I can totally explain all technical work I did, for eg how I managed Text analytics tools. I am so terrified as I don't have any good recommender. More importantly, Would I appear a faker to ad-com if I go ahead with this startup story?
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Duncan
Sadly your story, if accepted at face value, does rule you out from schools that look for students with the clear track record of successes that is so much easier to produce in a corporate setting.

Other people will have met you along the way, and the people who said no to you along the way may be able to back up your story with credibility.

From an admissions point of view, the interesting thing is what you learnt from this: why did you stay in the business so long and what did you do to try to set boundaries and goals.
Sadly your story, if accepted at face value, does rule you out from schools that look for students with the clear track record of successes that is so much easier to produce in a corporate setting.

Other people will have met you along the way, and the people who said no to you along the way may be able to back up your story with credibility.

From an admissions point of view, the interesting thing is what you learnt from this: why did you stay in the business so long and what did you do to try to set boundaries and goals.
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samco.me
Sadly your story, if accepted at face value, does rule you out from schools that look for students with the clear track record of successes that is so much easier to produce in a corporate setting.

Other people will have met you along the way, and the people who said no to you along the way may be able to back up your story with credibility.

From an admissions point of view, the interesting thing is what you learnt from this: why did you stay in the business so long and what did you do to try to set boundaries and goals.


Though our startup (solving commuting woes of locals) received USD 100,000 as seed capital, we could not go beyond a functional app (took us long to build in absence of developers on team) -only 100 conversions out of 500 visitors in 6 months since launch. We kept going with updated business strategy but to no avail. Learning from our mistakes – bad UI/UX, inadequate user verification and limited payment modes, we moved on to another idea. With prior experience, we were able to provide structure to our new idea but despite improved strategy and a competent team, we couldn’t cross app-development stage. We weren’t good enough to get funding- Poor networking, overly optimistic revenue model, lack of MBA insight & inflexibility to adapt (told by few investors) etc.

If it had not been for self-belief (that plan will work) and my friendship to him, I would probably have left earlier. Changes I suggested were never properly implemented.

its only now I have realized that I am much better off executing my own business plan (developed along the way, owner wan't interested) without him and my experience tells me to MBA would be right thing to do before executing my Plan.
[quote]Sadly your story, if accepted at face value, does rule you out from schools that look for students with the clear track record of successes that is so much easier to produce in a corporate setting.

Other people will have met you along the way, and the people who said no to you along the way may be able to back up your story with credibility.

From an admissions point of view, the interesting thing is what you learnt from this: why did you stay in the business so long and what did you do to try to set boundaries and goals. [/quote]

Though our startup (solving commuting woes of locals) received USD 100,000 as seed capital, we could not go beyond a functional app (took us long to build in absence of developers on team) -only 100 conversions out of 500 visitors in 6 months since launch. We kept going with updated business strategy but to no avail. Learning from our mistakes – bad UI/UX, inadequate user verification and limited payment modes, we moved on to another idea. With prior experience, we were able to provide structure to our new idea but despite improved strategy and a competent team, we couldn’t cross app-development stage. We weren’t good enough to get funding- Poor networking, overly optimistic revenue model, lack of MBA insight & inflexibility to adapt (told by few investors) etc.

If it had not been for self-belief (that plan will work) and my friendship to him, I would probably have left earlier. Changes I suggested were never properly implemented.

its only now I have realized that I am much better off executing my own business plan (developed along the way, owner wan't interested) without him and my experience tells me to MBA would be right thing to do before executing my Plan.
quote
Duncan
A masters in entrepreneurship could be a good option, like https://www.babson.edu/academics/graduate-school/ms-in-entrepreneurial-leadership/
A masters in entrepreneurship could be a good option, like https://www.babson.edu/academics/graduate-school/ms-in-entrepreneurial-leadership/
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samco.me
A masters in entrepreneurship could be a good option, like https://www.babson.edu/academics/graduate-school/ms-in-entrepreneurial-leadership/[/quote]

As much as I found this proposition very appealing I find it little too narrow in terms of career prospects In case I find need to get back to job ( even in established start-ups with over million dollar valuation)
[quote]A masters in entrepreneurship could be a good option, like https://www.babson.edu/academics/graduate-school/ms-in-entrepreneurial-leadership/[/quote]

As much as I found this proposition very appealing I find it little too narrow in terms of career prospects In case I find need to get back to job ( even in established start-ups with over million dollar valuation)
quote
Duncan
These could be a good fit: https://find-mba.com/lists/top-business-school-by-speciality/top-business-schools-for-entrepreneurs
These could be a good fit: https://find-mba.com/lists/top-business-school-by-speciality/top-business-schools-for-entrepreneurs
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laurie
I would say that a lack of success is not a dealbreaker for getting into a good MBA program (which is what I'd recommend to you, and not a specialist degree).

You'll need to have a clear story to tell about the experience you gained at the startup (which can be valuable) and try to refrain from casting blame in your admissions essays. This will only spotlight the failure and will say a lot about your leadership skills. Instead, tell stories about how it worked, your role, and what you learned in the process.

However, letters of recommendation will be absolutely key, and if you're not on good terms with the founder this could be very problematic. Seek out those who worked alongside you, or others that you know who can speak to your experience and leadership capacity.
I would say that a lack of success is not a dealbreaker for getting into a good MBA program (which is what I'd recommend to you, and not a specialist degree).

You'll need to have a clear story to tell about the experience you gained at the startup (which can be valuable) and try to refrain from casting blame in your admissions essays. This will only spotlight the failure and will say a lot about your leadership skills. Instead, tell stories about how it worked, your role, and what you learned in the process.

However, letters of recommendation will be absolutely key, and if you're not on good terms with the founder this could be very problematic. Seek out those who worked alongside you, or others that you know who can speak to your experience and leadership capacity.
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